The Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) program instructed by Susan Hamilton is a system of exercise for all the muscles in the body. AIS is the result of 30 years of research, experimentation and experience developed by Aaron L. Mattes, who holds a Master of Science degree specializing in exercise therapy and kinesiology.
This carefully constructed program of mild stretching exercises helps promote wellness by increasing tissue elasticity and joint range of motion. These exercises are therapeutic as well as energizing. AIS exercises work by actively contracting the muscle that is opposite the isolated muscle. The isolated muscle then relaxes in preparation for its stretch. The muscle is stretched gently by holding the stretch for two seconds, releasing the stretch before the muscle reacts to being stretched.
The stretch classes that Susan teaches include some work with weights to increase muscle strength and prevent osteoporosis. Each 1-hour, 15-minute class systematically stretches every muscle in the body—from the head to the toes.
Yoga is known as an exercise method that promotes stretching. It focuses on flexibility but doesn’t build muscle strength. Stretching, specifically Active Isolated Stretch (AIS), incorporates Yoga poses into its program. It increases flexibility, balance and muscle strength.
Both Yoga and stretch classes can improve fitness, overall health and wellbeing. Poses can be modified for those who can’t do regular exercises due to injuries. Props are also used to modify poses in Yoga and stretch classes in order to make the poses more effective.
Practicing Active Isolated Stretching can increase and maintain joint range of motion as well as relieving muscle soreness and stiffness. It identifies specific muscles that are stretched and isolates them by using precise localized movements. Other benefits of AIS include tissue elasticity, better posture and rejuvenation.
“AIS is a result of my 30 years of laboratory research, experimentation and experience in clinical treatment, sports medicine and teaching,” says Aaron Mattes. “It is a vital component of injury prevention, rehabilitation, sports training and performance, longevity enhancement and in general a healthier lifestyle.”